Monthly Archives: July 2013

Go and help out

 


Sometimes only praying is not enough. One also needs to go out and
help in the Lord’s work wherever possible. Practice due discernment
where you are needed to be and then be there.

It’s a good thing to donate for missions, orphanages etc. However, the
experience can go to the next level when you actually are near the
front lines. I’ve gone to some orphanages personally and seen how the
kids were looked after. It was nice to give a listening ear to the
kids. I’ve walked with the religious leaders in private and realized
how much burdens they carry and thanked them for their service to the
community. Obviously, such help was more about hearing and being out
with the lonely rather than about just giving money.

If you are good with intercession and there are people needing prayers
then go and pray for them. If you are good with preaching the words
then preach it to someone. Don’t waste your God given time and
talents. Be “on the ready” to help the church when the opportunity
knocks instead of waiting and complaining about how bad the world has
become.

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A few quotes on Divine Providence

Here a few quotes on Divine Providence. Think about them and realize the truth of God’s Providence. Read on:

  • The more you abandon to God the care of all temporal things the more He will take care to provide for all your wants. But if on the contrary you try to supply all your needs Providence will allow you to continue to do just that, and then it may very well happen that even necessity will be lacking to you. For God will reprove you for your lack of faith in reliance on self
  • Do not be afraid to abandon yourself unreservedly to His loving Providence, for a child cannot perish in the arms of a Father Who is omnipotent
  • In all your affairs lean solely on God’s Providence, by means of which alone your plans can succeed. Meanwhile, on your part work on in quiet co-operation with Him, and then rest satisfied that if you have trusted entirely to Him you will always obtain such a measure of success as is most profitable for you, whether it seems so or not to your own individual judgment.
  • Being Master, He became a servant, and so revealed to the world the depths of His Providence.
  • The Providence of God is never wanting to him who confides in God as he ought.
  •  It is a great glory for Him to have a creature so attached to His Providence, so dependent on Him, full of such firm hope and peace of mind in the expectation of what He will send. His concern for such a one is redoubled, He watches over the slightest things that are of interest to him and inspires those who are over him to act prudently; and if for any reason they try to act in a manner harmful to him, He prevents them in the hidden ways of His Providence from carrying out their designs and compels them to do only what is to his advantage.

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A solemn prayer

saint francis

Catch them young…

children time

Many people fail to realize the importance of letting children learn and grow in the faith right from childhood. Just feeding them and spending money on kids but not being with them so as to teach them has been become the theme nowadays.

Proverbs 22:6 now says, Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Deuteronomy 11:19 says this, Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

In the living example of Jesus, he was trained in the way of the Lord by his parents on earth. They even took him to the temple of God so that he learned the manner of worship as per the Law of Moses. Very few parents even take their children to Church.

child jesus

Luke 2:41-52 says that, 41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”  49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.  51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

Ephesians 6:4 says this, Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Jesus doesn’t make light of little children. So there is no excuse not to teach them the matters of the faith. In Matthew 18:10 Jesus said, “See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”

2 Peter 3:18

chalk

How to be a hard target Christian?

You might have heard in the Bible about putting on the armor of God. If you haven’t then you can read it by clicking here. The point about on the armor of God is to actually use it. Those who don’t use the armor of God often tend to be easily susceptible to sin. However being a soft target doesn’t benefit a Christian in any way. So one needs to be a hard target Christian.

To be a hard target Christian you need to know the answer to the following question. How does sin get it’s prey?

Here are a few insights:

1. By being hidden – It waits like a snake, waiting for the unsuspecting prey to pass by.

2. By being aggressive – It pursues like a lion, trying to find someone to devour.

3. By being enticing – Like the spider’s web, it attracts it’s prey while making a bad end of them.

Well that shows how dangerous sin is. Don’t mistake it for a trap on a fair looking road. No, it’s more like a bad road that is full of traps but actually looks safe and wide.

Sin’s toughest opponents are those who are hard targets. Be a hard target to prevent sin getting at you. And being a hard target is not so difficult. So this takes us to an important question.

How does one be a hard target to sin?

Let me start with the word ‘BE‘. I’m not asking you to become a hard target. Why? Because, I don’t want you to risk waiting 2 days or 5 months or 7 years till you become a Hard target Christian. A good reason why I say so is that no one knows how quickly does temptation come or when is your last time on earth.

A question to reflect is that do you agree with the fact that a person who doesn’t praise God, doubts him, is a coward, gospel deficient, proud, has no clue about Christ and isn’t aware of the Holy Spirit is ultimately the devils favorite target? Won’t it take him little effort to make him sin, will it?

We need to be aware of spiritual principles that are Biblical and which resist the craftiness of sin. Lets consider the following 7 principles:

  1. Be of a very high level of praise to God.
  2. Be confident of Christ and his divine providence
  3. Be aggressive, spiritually.
  4. Be filled with the word of God.
  5. Be humble.
  6. Be mindful of Christ.
  7. Be attentive to the Holy Spirit.

Let me elaborate on them so that it benefits you. Try to remember them as much as you can. If you wish, you can read this article multiple times so that following these spiritual principles become second nature to you.

1. Be of a very high level of praise to God.

You don’t need to be a good singer. Just praise God intensely where ever you are. Because God dwells in the praises of his people. When you are in places you can’t sing loudly, praise him really loudly in your mind.

Psalm 22:3 – Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel.

2. Be confident of Christ and his divine providence.

If you believe you have everything when you have Christ, then you won’t feel the need to steal, to covet or to get jealous. Let him be your Shepherd and you be his sheep.

Philippians 4:19 – But my God will supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

3. Be aggressive, spiritually.

Fight back your temptations and do not hesitate to repel bad thoughts. Sin hates people who resist it tooth and nail and it doesn’t try too hard for long against them.

James 4:7 – Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

4. Be filled with the Word of God.

If you are truly filled with the word of God you will respect the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and reject all sin.

Psalm 119:11 – I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

5. Be humble.

Sin feeds on pride but God delights in humility. So when you are humble both you and God are fighting sin at the same time. A great team indeed!

James 4:6 – God resists the proud, but gives grace unto the humble.

6. Be mindful of Christ.

Think about Jesus in everything you feel, think and do. The more you think about his passion and glory the better will you do against the flesh.

Peter 4:1 & 2 – Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same thought, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer by human passions but by the will of God.

7. Be attentive to the Holy Spirit.

Respect the words of the Holy Spirit and work on them. When you do so, you will find temptations crumbling in front of you. Jesus himself paid attention to the Holy Spirit and  spoke about the sanctifying nature of the Holy Spirit in John 16. I will mention the specific verses though can read the whole chapter as well. Here we go:

And He, when He comes, will convict the world in respect of sin, of righteousness, and of judgement; of sin, because they do not believe in me;of righteousness… But when He has come—the Spirit of Truth—He will guide you into all the truth.

So if you follow all the 7 spiritual principles while actually putting on the armor of God you shall surely be a hard target Christian! Desire it and make this your legacy for the Lord.

Relaxation

English: St.Andreas parish church in Weißenbur...

Just a small story I had learnt a few years ago. They say that Saint John the Apostle liked to play with his pet sparrow from time to time. One day a hunter came to visit him and was surprised to see such a famous man playing. He surely could and should be making better use of his time. So he asked him, “Why do you waste your time playing? Why devote so much attention to something as useless as a sparrow?” Saint John looked at him in surprise and asked: “Why is the string on your bow not tight?” “Oh, you can’t keep it tight all the time,” the hunter explained, “otherwise it loses its tension and becomes useless for shooting arrows.” So Saint John told him in return: “My friend, just as you always release the tension on your bowstring, so you must release the tension inside of you and relax. If I don’t relax and just play, I have no strength for any great undertaking. I don’t even have the strength to do what I have to and what is necessary.”

The recess break which gets us out of the classroom or office is a very necessary part of work and education. We will need it later on in life if we want to do a good job for a long time…

I’ll write some more stuff on Biblical relaxation in the next post. Thanks for reading.

Take courage in the Lord

A person who believes in Christ is called to be courageous. Courage is a very important attribute for the Christian soul for with it using other attributes like love, honor etc become much easy and practical.

Right from the times when God manifested himself to Moses we keep hearing that the Lord God encouraging his people to have courage. You need courage to do the will of God.

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”

Courage is not entirely an emotion only but it more of a decision too. Decisions are invariably related to actions. When you are called do something for Christ you need to do it courageously.

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Even in the New Testament when we read the Gospel we notice that Jesus asked people to take courage not just for doing works but other things as well. Sometimes it’s been about receiving healing, receiving forgiveness and even about overcoming the world. Let’s read the Holy Scriptures about that as well:

John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.

Matthew 9:2 And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. Seeing their  faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, “ Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.

Matthew 9:22 But Jesus turning and seeing her said, “Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.” At once the woman was made well.

Picture this, courage is like keeping your hands up for a fight. A soldier can easily block blows against him if he were to keep his guard with his hands up. If he were to keep his hands all the way down, the enemy would be able to easily hurt him. When you are called to be courageous don’t give up instead keep your hope up and not at all down. This will help you to live truly victorious in the Lord.

2 Chronicles 15:7 But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work.

When you are faced with anxiety you are called to wait up on the Lord with courage. To know more about waiting on the Lord click here. Courage is highly important when waiting for the Lord, especially in hardships that are very much long drawn and you need help from God.

Isaiah 35:4 Say to those with anxious heart, “Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; The recompense of God will come, But He will save you.”

There is a good reason for those believe in God not to lose courage nor to fear. This is because Jesus is both the light and savior of the world. So those who follow him are called to be courageous.

Psalm 27:1  The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?

John 8:14  Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

There is great wisdom in the Bible that can help you to live courageously. You can mediate on the scriptures mentioned about and the following for this purpose. Pay special attention to the last verse as well as it means a lot. Here are the scriptures for you:

1 Corinthians 16:13  Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.

2 Timothy 1:7  For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

Hebrews 13:5-6  For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

1 Peter 3:13-14  Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.”

1 John 4:18  There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

It’s my prayer and desire that you grow more courageous in the Lord. Go on forward and take bold steps for the glory of God. Amen.

 

Learn from a preacher the right way

Sometimes we all need a good preaching to improve ourselves. So we go out to hear a minister of God to hear the Good news. Be it a retreat or a seminar, you always have some preacher teaching over there. The words of the preacher should be of benefit to you. However you need to learn it well so that you can put it to practice. So, when learning the word of God from a preacher learn it the right way. Here is something you can try out:-

1.Don’t get bored by the ambiance or sleepy audience but focus on the words divine.
2.Never make too much of the preachers training back ground or education. I mean don’t get scared but neither be awestruck.
3.Understand in what context is the preacher trying to speak. This removes the guesswork.
4.Try to find if the teaching tallies up with the teachings of the Gospel.
5.If a preacher asks a question about a point he is teaching on and if you don’t know then say that you don’t know. Don’t pretend you know. It’ll save you from false understanding.
6.Some preachers rely on emotional appeal. Beware of this. Don’t get taken up by the jokes or secular tales he puts in to explain or you’ll miss the real spiritual points. Last thing you want here is when after the preaching service someone asks you what the preacher said and all you can answer is the you have enjoyed  it but can’t recollect any point of the sermon.
7.Try to sit in a posture in which you can pay attention.
8.If you are standing make sure that you can stand all through the preaching or get yourself a place to it. This is valid if the preaching will take hours. If there is no alternative but to stand all through the preaching then at least be happy that you are getting something to learn!
9.If possible try to make written notes of the preaching. If this is difficult or you didn’t get your book then try to make mental notes of the teaching.
10.Discern well. If the preacher is teaching an incorrect doctrine or over preaching and you can’t tell him about it, then the least you can do is not to follow his teaching.
11.If the preacher talks about only about one topic all the while without any valid reason, this is when you are with him for a series of days then it’s time to either politely confront him in private of course or move on to another preacher. Like if every time Sunday after Sunday the preacher only talks about giving donations even if the gospel text is having nothing do with the donation bit then use your mind and ask God to either change him or save you your time and get you a another preacher.
12.Respect the preacher but never idolize him! Need I say anything more on this one?
13.Try to recollect at home after the preaching about what the preacher said and how can you apply this to help you in your walk with God.
14. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand the teaching. This is the most important thing you could ever do.

Focus on the Lord!

focus

 

How to avoid all faithlessness and sinful thinking? Well, you can focus on living a holy life. God has given you a deep ability. This ability is among the greatest and is found in the greatest achievers both in the religious and in the secular world. Its called focus.

Learn to focus on the Lord everyday and every moment of your life. Keep your vision in sight and let it be for the glory of God.

Philippians 3:12-14 says, Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

You can’t get clamped down by your past if you need to make good progress in the Kingdom of God. You need to look ahead to the call that Christ Jesus has given you. Leaving all wasteful things behind.

Hebrews 12:1-2 says, Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Never think you are the only person who have ever been called to succeed in the Lord’s way. A great many people have made it to the Lord’s side and now glorify God in heaven surrounded by his holy angels. Take courage dear faithful of the God when you think you’re alone and remind yourself that you are surrounded by a great number of witnesses.

Lets remember the 10th chapter of the gospel of Luke; As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

The scripture I’ve just mentioned are not an excuse to avoid housework. Housework is always a good thing to do. However, we need to have our priorities right as well. Jesus gave us a great tip about priorities when he said that Mary chose the good portion. Martha was much worried about the housework while Mary her sister directly came to listen to the Lord. Honoring God is even higher than even your earthly duties. Never let your earthly duties be considered higher than your duties towards God.

To focus better on the Lord Jesus Christ, lets consider the following and use them:

Read the scriptures to learn and stay strong. Romans 15:4 says, For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Proverbs 3:1-35 says, My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

Be alert always and pray. Luke 21:36 says, “But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man”

Expect the return of Christ any moment. Matthew 24:44 says, therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Note: I can say awaiting the return of our glorious Lord Jesus is an important sign of faith and it keeps you focused. Not expecting him to return is just living a lie. 2 Peter 3:3-4 says, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”

Renew your mind so that you discern the will of God. Romans 12:2 says, do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Ask God for his strength. When you are strong spiritually you’d find yourself much better focused! Always say, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

All this will help you keep focused when you put them to thought and action. So to summarize the above for you:

Focus on the Lord so that you’re holy and glorify him. Keep your thoughts and priorities in check.  Many others before you have been victorious in the Lord, so get inspired by their example.  To be well focused, read the scriptures to learn and stay strong.  Be alert always and pray. Expect the return of Christ any moment. Renew your mind so that you discern the will of God and finally ask God for his strength.

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